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Faculty

Kirsten A. Gonzalez

Kirsten A. GonzalezKirsten A. Gonzalez
Assistant Professor
Ph.D., University of Kentucky (2016)

Email: Kirstenagonzalez724@gmail.com

Keywords: LGBTQ+ People of Color, Ally development, Social justice advocacy and interventions, Biracial/multiracial experience, Multicultural psychology, Intersectional theory, Minority and acculturative stress, Minority experience in response to major societal events


Research Interests

My research broadly focuses on the psychological well-being of individuals with marginalized identities including racial/ethnic minorities and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) people.  I use intersectional theory to explore the experiences of marginalized communities across race/ethnicity, gender, and sexuality.  I am equally passionate about social justice ally work.  In this avenue, I develop and study the efficacy of interventions designed to reduce prejudice and build social justice allies in privileged communities.

Research statement

My research program focuses on exploring: (a) the psychological well-being and distinctly positive experiences of individuals belonging to minority groups, (b) the most effective ingredients for reducing prejudice, and (c) social justice ally development in privileged communities. 

My first area of research focuses on the distinctly positive experiences across race, gender, and sexuality (i.e., cross-category friendships and identity disclosures in the context of friendship, parenting LGBTQ+ children, LGBTQ+ optimism, etc.). This research is important as it helps to dispel negative stereotypes and educate the general public about the realities of LGBTQ+ and racial/ethnic minority lives.  Given that minority and race-related stress significantly impacts the lives of LGBTQ+ People of Color, I also design and test the efficacy of secondary interventions to increase the well-being and positive identity development of at-risk youth and young adult LGBTQ+ People of Color.

Recognizing that social dominance is a larger sociopolitical issue, my second area of research tackles prejudice reduction at all levels of society (including individual, interpersonal, institutional, and policy levels).  This line of research is paramount to creating systemic and cultural change, as marginalized communities live within a dominant society characterized by prejudice and discrimination.  My research focuses on exploring the mechanism for changing ingroup attitudes and behaviors toward outgroup members.  Building on psychotherapy outcome-based research, I am passionate about exploring the most effective “ingredients” for reducing prejudice.  Through my research, I develop and test interventions designed to raise awareness of the impact of privilege and oppression on society with members of privileged ingroups.  Relying on positive psychology techniques and prejudice reduction strategies, I work to develop and test interventions designed to address the impact of minority and acculturative stress in the lives of people with stigmatized identities.      

My third area of research explores the unique factors that contribute to the development of social justice allies and their advocacy efforts.  Social justice allies play an integral role in fighting oppression and creating systemic change.  I am interested in the global identity development of social justice allies and the similarities and differences between those who actively fight for equality for all people and those who identify as White racial allies or LGBTQ+ allies.  In this avenue, I also develop and test the most effective strategies for facilitating movement from positive intergroup attitudes to active engagement in advocacy efforts among those in privileged positions and communities.

Current and Future Directions

In researching positive and negative lived experiences across race/ethnicity, gender, and sexuality, my current research explores the experiences of LGBTQ+ People of Color in response to major societal events.  I am currently completing projects focused on (a) understanding the minority and race-related stressors resulting from the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, as well as (b) the impact of the 2016 U.S. Presidential election on social relationships (e.g., given family, chosen family, friendships, and romantic relationships) of LGBTQ+ People of Color.

Aligned with my interest in social justice ally development, I am currently completing projects focused on (a) exploring the ways people from normative ingroups disrupt systems of inequality and (b) investigating the narratives of social justice allies who hold positions of privilege and power.

Future research projects will explore (a) positive identity and belonging across race/ethnicity, sexuality, and gender with special attention to the distinct experiences of biracial LGBTQ+ people; (b) the unique mental health struggles and negative therapy experiences of LGBTQ+ People of Color; (c) how to most effectively shatter binary conceptualizations of sexuality, gender, and race/ethnicity in prejudice reduction work; and (d) how to best intervene with privileged ingroup communities to facilitate social justice ally and advocacy efforts.

  • Dissertation Year Fellowship Recipient (Competitive), University of Kentucky (2014-2015)
  • Lyman T. Johnson Graduate Fellowship, University of Kentucky (2011-2014)
  • Psychology Department Distinguished Graduating Master’s Degree Recipient Award (Competitive), Towson University (2011)

Internal

  • Group Foundation for Advancing Mental Health Conference Travel Grant; $185 (2017)
  • University of Kentucky Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology Department
    Conference Travel Grant, University of Kentucky; $650 (2015)
  • University of Kentucky Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology Department
    Conference Travel Grant, University of Kentucky; $650 (2014)
  • University of Kentucky Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology Department
    Conference Travel Grant, University of Kentucky; $650 (2012)

Gonzalez, K. A., Ramirez, J. L., & Galupo, M. P. (2017). “I was and still am”: Narratives of bisexual marking in the #StillBisexual Campaign. Sexuality & Culture, 21, 493-515.doi:10.1007/s12119-016-9401-y

Gonzalez, K. A., Riggle, E. D. B., & Rostosky, S. S. (2015). Cultivating positive feelings and attitudes as an alternative path to prejudice reduction. Translational Issues in Psychological Science, 1, 372-381. doi:10.1037/tps0000049

Riggle, E. D. B., Gonzalez, K. A., Rostosky, S. S., & Black, W. W. (2014). Cultivating positive LGBTQA identities: An intervention study with college students. Journal of LGBT Issues in Counseling, 8, 264-281.doi:10.1080/15538605.2014.933468

Galupo, M. P., Krum, T., Hagen, B., Gonzalez, K. A., & Bauerband, L. A. (2014). Disclosure of transgender identity and status in the context of friendship. Journal of LGBT Issues in Counseling, 8, 25-42. doi:10.1080/15538605.2014.853638

Galupo, M. P., Bauerband, L. A., Gonzalez, K. A., Hagen, D. B., & Krum, T. E. (2014). Transgender friendship experiences: Benefits and barriers of friendships across gender identity and sexual orientation. Feminism & Psychology, 24, 193-215. doi:10.1177/0959353514526218

Gonzalez, K. A., & Galupo, M. P. (2014). Comparative Optimism: A Framework for Understanding Positive Sexual Minority Experience. Psychology &Sexuality, 5, 131-142. doi:10.1080/19419899.2012.673131

Gonzalez, K. A., Odom, R. D., Rostosky, S.S., & Riggle, E.D.B. (2013).   The positive aspects of being the parent of an LGBT child. Family Process, 52, 325-337.doi:10.1111/famp.12009

Galupo, M. P., & Gonzalez, K. A. (2013). Friendship values and cross-category friendship patterns: Understanding friendship development across sexual orientation and race. Sex Roles: A Journal of Research, 68, 779-790. doi:10.1007/s11199-012-0211-x

Black, W. W., Fedewa, A. L., & Gonzalez, K. A. (2012). Effects of “Safe School” Programs and Policies on the Social Climate for Sexual Minority Youth: A Review of the Literature. Journal of LGBT Youth, 9, 321-339. doi:10.1080/19361653.2012.714343

Darby, A., Mihans, R., Gonzalez, K., Lyons, M., Goldstein, J., & Anderson, K. (2011). The influence of school socioeconomic status on first-year teachers’ emotions. Research in Education, 85, 69-80. Retrieved from: http://www.questia.com/read/1P3-2610126241/the-influence-of-school-socioeconomic-status-on-first-year

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